Category: Faith

An Ecclesiastes Moment

Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible. But then again, I am a little weird.

Here’s one of my favorites:

Do not be overrighteous,
neither be overwise—
why destroy yourself?

Do not be overwicked,
and do not be a fool—
why die before your time?

It is good to grasp the one
and not let go of the other.
The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.

–Ecclesiastes 7:16-18

So who do you think Qoheleh (“The Preacher”) would commend: a) Pat Robertson b) James Dobson c) Sam Harris or d) Christopher Hitchens?

My guess? None of the above.

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It’s the Increments, Stupid

Yesterday was “hill day.” That’s my 6-6.5 mile early morning run which includes a mile or so of various quad-challenging inclines. Hill day, along with my weekly track session and long weekend run, form the backbone of what I hope will be a run-up to another marathon in December.

Usually, I’m pretty winded by the time I reach the top of the hills and have been in the habit of walking a few meters in recovery. But yesterday, as I topped each peak, there was no need to stop and catch my breath. Like Forrest Gump, I just kept right on running.… Read the rest

Be a Whateva

A few years back, after noting my small knack for turning out a good phrase or two every now and then, I thought to myself: I coulda been a writa!

Then I heard about something called “blogging.” And now, nearly two years lata, I am a writa!

Well, sorta.

Substitute “writa” for “singa” and I coulda been the one asking this question.

Please take the time to read Cary Tennis’ advice to this wannabe diva. It’s some of the best, most practical, most loving guidance that I’ve seen dished out in a long time.

Then, turn off the reality show and start creating some reality of your own.… Read the rest

The Things We Say

With the mercury already rising on another sultry Sunday morning, the runner stopped for a much-needed drink of water. The mammoth megachurch had always been a good wayside for such purposes. Situated approximately halfway through the run, one of the side doors was usually open by 7:00am, and there was a water fountain just a few feet inside; real water, and who knows, on a good day, maybe a little “living water” too.

The runner was not exactly dressed for church, but he rarely encountered anyone inside, and he would only be there for a few moments, so he didn’t see any harm.… Read the rest

C’mon In Boys, The Water Is Fine–Part 2

There are certain immutable laws of the universe which govern the course of the day. The sun rises in the east and sits in the west. Politicians will talk a good game, and when push comes to shove, fail to follow through (or use their fists instead). And whenever I absolutely have to be somewhere in a hurry, I will inevitably end up behind an octogenarian in an Olds. Or in this case, a memaw in a Marquis.

There were no cars behind me or coming toward me, and it would have been a simple matter to have downshifted, crossed the double yellow, and blown granny’s doors off on my way to church.… Read the rest

C’mon In Boys, The Water Is Fine–Part 1

“Well that’s it, boys. I’ve been redeemed. The preacher’s done warshed away all my sins and transgressions. It’s the straight and narrow from here on out, and heaven everlasting’s my reward…Neither God nor man’s got nothin’ on me now. C’mon in boys, the water is fine.”

–Delmar O’Donnell in O Brother Where Art Thou

The phone rang in the middle of the night, shattering my blissful slumber like a Louisville Slugger against a plate-glass window.

Okay, whoa—better nix the miserable metaphor and start over. It was really only 10:30pm. But after the kind of day I had Sunday, I needed the extra rest.… Read the rest

Pitch Perfect

Philip Yancey is one of my favorite contemporary Christian writers. My first exposure to him was during my premed days at Harding when I read Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, a book he coauthored with Dr. Paul Brand. Since then, he’s only become better and more prolific. As someone who in the past has described himself as a “reluctant Christian,” Yancey to me feels like spiritual next-of-kin.

Two weeks after the Virginia Tech massacre, Yancey waded into the morass of grief that was Blacksburg, Virginia and delivered these words.

I sent this link to Number One Son, figuring that he might appreciate some of the things that Yancey had to say as he prepares to take up the tricky business of learning and living out his faith on a state university campus.… Read the rest

Life Is A Test

It’s ironic that after all my prattling on about basketball these last few weeks, I won’t even be around to watch the Final Four Saturday. Instead, I’ll be at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis where I’ll be serving as an examiner with the National Board of Optometry. Fourth year optometry students take the Clinical Skills portion of the National Board shortly before graduating, and while for most it won’t be the last hurdle involved in obtaining a license to practice, it is a pretty significant one.

Basically, the students rotate among different stations where they perform various clinical procedures which are commonly done during an eye exam.… Read the rest

Let the Vetting Begin!

Bruce Feiler responds at length (and very well) to the “Jesus Tomb” controversy.

His interview/debate with Simcha Jacobovici on the CBS Morning Show with Hannah Storm is especially entertaining.

Here’s a money quote from Feiler:

At least Dan Brown called his book fiction. In fact, I prepared to say Hannah, there is more truth in Dan Brown’s fiction than there is in Simcha’s fact.

Ouch. If you’re Simcha Jacobovici, that’s gotta hurt.

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CSI: Jerusalem?

It doesn’t get bigger than this. We’ve done our homework; we’ve made the case; and now it’s time for the debate to begin.

–Producer James Cameron on the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”

Better hold the phone on this whole Easter thing–might as well cancel those sunrise services and sleep in for a change. You see, James Cameron, the man who brought you “The Terminator” and “The Titanic,” is announcing in a New York City press conference today that he believes archaeologists have found the tomb and bones human residue of the so-called resurrected Christ.

This is actually an old story repackaged to ride the crest of the recent wave of revisionist Christian history (think Da Vinci Code) that we’ve seen the last few years.… Read the rest

He’s Bama Bound

davids-senior-formal.jpgBig Mama has called her native son and Number One has answered–he’s Bama bound.

Number One had literally been losing sleep over the Big Decision, so torn was he between choosing The University of Alabama and his parents’ alma mater (Hail!) Harding University. I had lunch with him a couple of weeks ago to see how things were going and to let him explain to me his reasoning. At the end of that conversation, I was impressed. Number One understood full well what he would be gaining and losing with either choice, and he was able to list off the pros and cons of each with ease.… Read the rest

In the Hands of The Man Upstairs

He was a Vietnam vet with more than a few miles under the hood. The deep lines of his stubbly face and the sad, saggy eyes bespoke a hardscrabble life and many nights of facing off against Charlie in his dreams.

His vest, with its sleeves shorn from a regulation BDU, was festooned with a motley assortment of buttons, patches and pins:

“God Bless America”

“God, Duty, Country”

“POW*MIA–You Are Not Forgotten”

His automated wheelchair, likewise, was tattooed with various Marine Corps and patriotic stickers. There were two small American flags, one on each armrest, flying proud and strong.

The cigarettes that had helped keep Charlie at bay all these years had left deep and debilitating scars on his lungs, and the nicotine stained tubing from his supplemental oxygen tank looped around his chair, across his weathered face, and into his nostrils, allowing for short, labored breaths.… Read the rest

You Gotta Have Faith

Time magazine recently hosted a debate on God and science. The participants were scientist and committed atheist and philosophical materialist Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of the recently released book The God Delusion, and Dr. Francis Collins, committed Christian and Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

It’s worth reading all of this if you have the time since it’s very uncommon to see two such articulate spokespersons on opposite sides of a contentious debate actually talk to each other rather than past each other. I think you’ll agree that this article represents a rare sighting of civility in the American public square.… Read the rest